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Gluten Free Diet

By Gali Health in partnership with @plentyandwellwithnat, medically reviewed by Kate Schlag, RD

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A style of eating that eliminates gluten, which is commonly found in bread, pasta, cereals, baked goods and other “bread” products.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. What Is Gluten
  2. Let’s Eat
  3. Foods to Steer Clear Of
  4. Gluten-Free Banana Bread
  5. Flare Friendly Foods
  6. Common Swaps
  7. Weekly Tip
  8. Research

WHAT IS GLUTEN

 

Gluten is a protein found in many grains like wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). Going gluten-free is absolutely necessary for patients who are diagnosed with celiac disease, but many with IBD find that eating a gluten-free diet also helps their symptoms.

Gluten-free eating is not always healthier, as many gluten-free products still contain a lot of sugar, preservatives, or other additives to make up for the loss of texture or flavor that results from the removal of gluten, which is something to simply be aware of.

If you truly can eat gluten with zero symptoms, there is no pressing need to cut it out of your diet.

LET’S EAT!

On a gluten-free diet you can eat all fruits, veggies, healthy fats like nuts and coconut, and a variety of gluten-free grains like oats, quinoa, and rice! There are also many gluten-free baking recipes and gluten-free products on the market today.

STEER CLEAR OF

  • Wheat and any products that include wheat
  • Beer (unless gluten-free)
  • Couscous
  • Faro
  • Spelt
  • Seitan
  • Barley
  • Make sure to check the ingredients of dressings, sauces, soy sauce, and seasoning mixes

Please note that this isn’t a fully extensive list of all grains that contain gluten! It is best to read ingredient
labels and look for the “certified gluten-free” label on packaged foods.

GLUTEN-FREE BANANA BREAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium-sized ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk (can substitute for alternative milk, like almond or oat, as well)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil (can substitute for any other oil as well)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Optional add-ins: walnuts, pecans, or coconut flakes

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a standard-sized bread pan by “greasing” it with oil (or lining with parchment paper).
  2. In a large bowl, mash your bananas. Add your eggs, milk, peanut butter, coconut oil, and optional honey and stir
    well.
  3. Mix together the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and mix.
  4. Add any optional add-ins like pecans, walnuts, chocolate chips, or coconut flakes. Place in your bread pan and smooth the top.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
  6. Let cool, slice, and enjoy!

FLARE FRIENDLY FOODS

Steamed carrots – try pureeing them with some spices or puree with cinnamon and coconut oil for a sweeter version and top with a drizzle of smooth nut butter or coconut butter.

Avocado – try baking half of an avocado with an egg in the middle and drizzle with olive or avocado oil.

Baked chicken, white fish, scrambled eggs.

Smoothie – try cooking then freezing your fruit (for easier digestion) and blend with smooth nut butter or avocado for healthy fats (if tolerated during flares) and unflavored collagen powder for easy-to-digest protein.

Bone broth – sip on it plain or cook in some veggies and chicken until soft.

Apple sauce (no sugar added).

Rice cakes with avocado or smooth nut butter.

COMMON SWAPS

Breads, cookies, crackers, other baked goods: many stores have a wide variety of gluten-free options to substitute most common baked goods such as bagels, English muffins, cookies, etc. There is also a plethora of gluten-free baked good recipes online!

Pasta: rice pasta, lentil pasta, chickpea pasta, quinoa pasta

Cereal: many stores will carry gluten-free cereal options

Flour: gluten-free flour blends, cassava flour, almond flour/almond meal, hazelnut flour, coconut flour, tigernut flour

Soy sauce that contains gluten: coconut aminos

WEEKLY TIP

“Bioindividuality” means that every person is unique and different, and therefore your nutrition needs will be unique and different! Just because one style of eating may work for someone else you know with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, does not necessarily mean it will work for you or have the same impact on your body. That’s why it’s important to always tune in and listen to your body. Work with a professional on dietary changes if you’re having a difficult time discerning which foods are working and which foods are not.

RESEARCH

While it’s rare for an individual to be diagnosed with both celiac disease and IBD, a recent study has revealed that four genes may be responsible for increasing the risk for both conditions, suggesting that there may be some overlap.

And in fact, patients with IBD may be more likely to have non-celiac gluten sensitivity: a 2014 study from Japan analyzed blood samples of 172 patients with IBD and found that 13% of them tested positive for anti-gluten antibodies, but zero of those patients tested positive for celiac disease.

Another study found the prevalence of Crohn’s patients who experience non-celiac gluten sensitivity to be 27.6%; the study authors posit that gluten exposure may cause changes in the microbiome and activate the innate immune system, both of which increase inflammation and, thus, IBD symptoms.

Whether such an association exists or not, many have turned to a gluten-free diet to help manage IBD symptoms, with varying levels of success. There are not yet any prospective studies investigating the effects of a gluten-free diet on the remission of IBD, but one retrospective study showed that a gluten-free diet may alleviate symptoms.

An Internet-based cohort study found that of 314 IBD patients who had tried a gluten-free diet to alleviate or manage symptoms, 206 (65.6%) reported that they experienced an improvement in at least one symptom associated with IBD.

Moreover, 38.3% reported that they experienced fewer and less severe flares while following the diet, and 23.6% reported that they reduced their medication usage while following the diet.

While these results are certainly promising, prospective randomized clinical trials should be performed to support such an association and to explore the causal mechanisms.

For more information and tips on living with inflammatory bowel disease from the medical and patient communities, download the Gali friend for IBD mobile app and she will create a personalized feed of articles just for you!

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